A day after Philadelphia Police fatally shot a knife-wielding man in West Philadelphia, protests continued in the city as leaders prepared for more unrest from the incident and ahead of the presidential election.
Protesters gathered in West Philadelphia around 7 p.m. Tuesday and marched to the 18th District police headquarters. Also Tuesday night, the lawyer for the family of Walter Wallace Jr. said the family had called for an ambulance, not police, to get him help with a mental health crisis.
Later Tuesday night, some of the protesters threw rocks, water bottles and other items at responding police officers.
Philadelphia police said that two officers were hurt during Tuesday night's unrest, but they didn't reveal the extent of their injuries.
Along with the protest, more looting occurred in the city Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday, despite Wallace Jr.'s family's denunciation of such actions. SkyForce10 was over the scene as looters targeted the Foot Locker, Walmart and other nearby stores on Aramingo Avenue in the city's Port Richmond neighborhood.
Many cars could be seen pulling up to the shopping centers as people ran in and out of stores with carts full of merchandise and even televisions. Police would move in and scatter the looters, but people would sometimes return once the officers left.
Debris scattered the parking lots of various strip malls along Aramingo Avenue. A Five Below store that was already boarded up was ransacked, its alarms still blaring before daybreak. A Walmart store was also damaged with flooding from broken pipes and looters left bullets scattered on the floor as they fled.
Up to 1,000 people are believed to have taken part in the looting, investigators said.
People also broke into a bank in the area and ripped the ATMs apart.
Wallace's cousin Anthony Fitzhugh, on behalf of Wallace's family, denounced the looters.
"They're thieves, they're opportunists, and they're stealing because they have the opportunity to steal," Fitzhugh said. "Do not put my cousin's name on that."
There were at least 11 shootings reported in that neighborhood overnight, including two teens shot, police said. It is unclear if those shootings are connected to the looting.
Philadelphia police later requested that residents in the 12th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 25th and 26th districts remain indoors when necessary due to the continued unrest.
Early Tuesday evening, Gov. Tom Wolf's office confirmed that the Pennsylvania National Guard is mobilizing to head to Philly. Guard members will help protect local property and supplement the Philadelphia Police, a Guard spokesman told NBC10.
Officials previously said that if the Guard were deployed, their primary role would be to station outside businesses. The National Guard was deployed this spring in business districts and other locations including the Municipal Services Building.
The guard mobilized a day after family and neighbors around Locust and 61st streets watched Monday night as officers opened fire, killing Wallace Jr. while his mother tried to restrain him from moving toward officers.
The incident, which was captured on video and spread through social media, sparked protests and renewed calls for justice from activists and City Council members. As the night wore on, that devolved into looting and vandalism in West Philadelphia, particularly along 52nd Street.
Sylvia Gallier Howard with the city's Commerce department said "eight or nine" other commercial corridors saw damage as well, and acknowledged that some businesses are closing up Tuesday as a precaution. The Commerce department recommended business move outdoor furniture and other small outdoor items indoors. Police will deploy looting response teams in commercial corridors just in case, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters in a news conference.
Looting and vandalism also broke out in Philly in May and June, following peaceful protests after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Chief Inspector Frank Vanore revealed that each officer fired their service weapon seven times, though it was not immediately clear how many of their shots hit Wallace.
And Outlaw revealed that the officers who fired at Wallace were not equipped with stun guns (also referred to as Tasers or electronic control weapons.)
Many other officers also do not carry Tasers, she said.
"We’re continuing to roll out the program as it relates to that. So with that said, yes it’s common for officers to respond to a domestic disturbance or any type of call with a gun, because it’s one of the tools that we carry on our tool belt."
Outlaw drew a distinction between the frightened and angered neighbors who witnessed or heard Wallace's final moments, and the people who looted and vandalized shops in the city overnight. She discouraged lumping the two groups together.
"It was a completely different group of folks, and quite frankly demographics that we saw there," Outlaw said. "And I heard from community some of the same frustrations expressed as well."
Scanner audio reviewed by NBC10 showed police were called to the scene and ordered to use caution while responding to an ongoing domestic dispute.
Court records show Wallace, 27, had previous disputes with family. But it wasn't clear if the officers who responded Monday had dealt with Wallace before.
Effects on the city
Monday night and early Tuesday, police referred dozens of commercial burglary cases to prosecutors, District Attorney Larry Krasner said.
Of those cases, Krasner's office has enough information and evidence to charge 27 people with 2nd-degree commercial burglaries, he told reporters at a news conference. He said some of the targeted stores include a sneaker store on City Avenue and other businesses on 52nd Street.
Other cases were still being processed before police turned them over to Krasner's office.
Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney expect police response to be more prepared in case looting or vandalism begins again.
“There were a lot of peaceful protesters out there last night, and perhaps over the next week or two, but vandalism and looting is not an acceptable form of First Amendment expression," Kenney said. "And we will continue to staff and man our business districts and our strip malls and our downtown and the stores in the neighborhood to the best of our ability, and make sure that we avoid this again.”
Outlaw took part in a community meeting Tuesday night and plans to attend more in the future.
Mayor Jim Kenney has met with Wallace's family and offered his condolences. He also plans to discuss the shooting with the city Pathways to Reform, Transformation and Reconciliation Committee, which was established amid summer protests this year to address racial disparities in police responses and uses of force.
That committee recommended several reforms, including a review of the police disciplinary process, implicit bias training for officers, harm reduction training, and sending out a mental health "co-responder" on calls where a subject may be in a mental health crisis.
The police department has to release the names of officers involved within 72 hours of the shooting, unless there is a threat to the officers' safety.
There was no set timeline given for the completion of the internal investigation in the shooting. And while that investigation is happening, Outlaw said the department might not release other key details that could jeopardize it.
The internal investigation will have to address how much the officers knew at the time and what their frame of mind was during the incident, Outlaw said.
"The law does not allow us to utilize hindsight. But it really is about what the officer, the involved officer, perceived, experienced, what they were thinking at the time they made the decision to use force. Any subsequent investigation...looks at totality of circumstances but also determines whether the force used was proportionate, and was reasonable and necessary.”
She declined to get into multiple specifics of the case, including whether the officers knew Wallace or if police had previously responded to the home. Police may also delay publicly releasing the police body-worn camera footage that captured the fatal event - if they think releasing it would hinder the investigation, according to Outlaw.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, which represents officers in labor disputes, urged calm in a statement and asked the public to reserve judgment until the investigation is finished.
"We ask the public for its patience as this investigation moves forward," President John McNesby said. "We’re confident that investigators will conduct an exhaustive and transparent review of all the facts related to this tragic incident."
Krasner's office is also investigating the shooting, and could charge the officers if evidence shows a crime occurred. If there is not evidence of a lack of training, the officers could face administrative discipline but that would be up to the police department, Krasner said.
The DA's office is awaiting evidence from police for other cases in the pipeline, including 11 for assaults on officers. Outlaw said officers had cuts and bruises from objects thrown at them, and one officer had a broken leg from being hit by a vehicle.